Don La Greca explains how his time at Ramapo led to career

Don La Greca, Ramapo class of ‘94, has a passion for sports communications unlike many others. From his days at WRPR — Ramapo’s student-run radio station — to his job now as co-host of “The Michael Kay Show” (“TMKS”), he has shown perseverance all the way through. His strong will is why he is so successful today, despite a series of ups and downs on his journey.

La Greca, a former varsity pitcher for Don Bosco Prep High School, first found his interest in communications during his senior year of high school. He took a radio class as an elective and ended up winning an award. From that moment, La Greca knew he might want to pursue that as a career. However, he still had baseball on his mind, and these two factors helped him pick his college.

“I knew that Ramapo had a radio station and they had a strong communications course, so I knew that was going to be my major,” said La Greca. “But I still had aspirations of being a ballplayer. Ramapo won the Division III College World Series in ‘84.”

Ramapo recruited La Greca, but he was cut in spring training as three transfer students joined the team. After that, he shifted his focus fully to communications.

As soon as La Greca joined WRPR, he made it his own. He and his friend, Scott, started a show in 1988 called “The Beast is Unleashed.” On this show, which aired on Friday nights, they interviewed local bands and played their music.

After a certain point, La Greca became so invested in the station that it became a priority over everything else. “It came at the expense of my grades because like I would cut class sometimes to just be at the radio station. I just lived there.”

If someone was unable to show up to DJ, he would take over. He became a real leader at the station. In fact, it actually took him six years to earn enough credits to graduate because he only took 12 credits a semester in order to spend more time at the station.

It was not only the radio station that gave La Greca the knowledge and experience he needed. Ramapo’s academics also helped him become more well-equipped for everything that was ahead at the professional level.

“I would say Ramapo did a great job of preparing us because they weren’t teaching you about the past. They were teaching about the present and what was to come,” he said. “So I really felt prepared when I graduated for what was out there. I didn’t feel blindsided by anything that was going on because I felt they did a great job preparing me for that future.”

Through Ramapo, he found an internship at K-Rock, a classic rock station in New York City. While working at K-Rock, he met a DJ who was married to someone working at a phone program. La Greca used that connection to get a job there.

Despite this, it was not always an easy road for La Greca. After graduation, he was able to move onto Sports Phone, a division of the same company out of Long Island. However, it did not pay much, and the tolls and gas required for the commute were costly. It got to a point where even a simple work football pool with a prize of $50 meant the world to La Greca, and when he did not win, he became even more dejected.

Things were looking bleak for La Greca. His lunches and dinners consisted of bologna and Italian bread sandwiches because it was all he could afford. His father, a worker for Public Service Enterprise Group, told him to give up on his sports dream and to come into work with him and fill out an application. La Greca refused, saying he already put too much effort in. This decision ended up paying off.

In July of 1996, La Greca landed a job doing overnight updates on WFAN, a sports radio station. From there, he began doing more daytime shifts and eventually became a regular. That path began his journey of starting “TMKS” in 2002. His strong-willed nature helped him become successful, along with some advice he had gotten early on.

“One piece of advice that stuck with me is ‘Don’t be above anything.’ When I worked at the radio at Ramapo, I did everything. I ran the board, I cut tape, I did managerial stuff,” La Greca said. “The more you can do, the easier it’s going to be to get hired.”

Through the knowledge and experience learned at WRPR, as well as classes from Ramapo, La Greca was able to fight his way from his lowest point to becoming one of the more well-known names in the world of sports radio.

Photo courtesy of Don La Greca.